REDBAND: Future AV…Hello my name is Joshua Stackhouse By Joshua Stackhouse

Future AV – Hello my name is Joshua Stackhouse. by Joshua Stackhouse

 “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home”– Ken Olson, CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977.

Olsen was wrong; I need technology like a zombie needs brains!

I’ve been around computer technology my entire life, exposed at every turn as a child. My mom was an electronics repair technician and it was common for me to watch my mom take apart and fix everything from VCR’s to arcade machines to animatronic robots. I watched her control industrial robotics and design software. My earliest childhood memories involve playing with robots she constructed. Watching her solder them together component by component, I was completely fascinated. As time went by, I quickly discovered that I was a “digital Doolittle” able to just understand anything computer-based with very little effort.

As I got older, watching became doing. I used computers in school and computers at home. Heck, I was programming in BASIC on a Commodore 64 my grandmother gave me when I was just ten. In high school I was a computer geek hanging out with other geeks doing stuff like building online game worlds for early MMORPG’s and hacking game consoles. Leaving home at 19 to join the U.S. Navy, I then professionally worked as an IT administrator for a network that spanned a fifth of the country. Tech had been with me all along, and had become a career.

I burned out after a few years and left tech for a little over half a decade. I didn’t stop being an end-user, but the notion of certifications and academics being more important to hiring personnel than actual experience had left a bad taste in my mouth.

Eventually, however, I got over myself and enrolled in a high-tech trade program at Madison Media Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. It has been there in the Associates of Applied Science in Electronics and A/V systems (EAV) program that I rekindled my passion for technology. Adding to my IT background and lifelong passion for tech, I learned everything from methods of construction to electronics at the component level to project management and a slew of systems including life safety systems, home theater systems, CCTV, distributed audio/video and more.

My instructors went above and beyond the role of instructor and rose to the status of mentors. During my tenure as a student at MMI they molded and shaped me into a professional ready to reenter the tech world and take it by storm. To my instructors, my kids, and loving fiancé who have supported me through the process, I am truly grateful.

My time at MMI is nearly over. In just ten weeks I will graduate with my degree, ready to charge into the A/V world and shake it up. My time spent there has reinvigorated my inner geek inspiring me to go beyond a career to build and play with electronics and computing as a hobby with tools such as the Arduino and to take former Harvard Professor Shimon Shocken’s NAND2Tetris course. It has given me a desire to become a LEED Green Associate, pursue my Cisco CCNA, and to obtain my Certified Technical Trainer certification from CompTIA. All of these are, of course, in addition to industry certifications like ESPA and CTS.

Olsen was wrong. The AV systems designed and installed by AV integrators empower us to have more enjoyable lives and therefore are desirable. We rely on them so much that I believe that IT and AV are beyond merging and are now irreversibly intertwined.  The symbiotic nature of this business relationship is so significant that only the integrators who understand this vision of the future will remain relevant.

I am “young” AV. My name is Joshua Stackhouse and I am what the future of this industry looks like.

Check out Joshua Stackhouse profile on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter: @StackhouseAV

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